We could have a Sox double shot in the playoffs this year. The Red Sox slot (either as a division or wild card winner) is a given with Pedro every five days. But who would expect to write this—the Chicago White Sox are in first. I say it again—the Chicago White Sox are in first. Who the heck are these guys? Even though Mike Hargrove is struggling to get the overpaid Orioles to work, his worth as a manager is being proved as the Indians muddle through this year. And the low budget Kansas City Royals are hanging around .500, making the AL Central perhaps the division to watch this year.
Of course, the A.L. West looks just as fun, as Oakland continues their improvement from last year, Seattle proves trading Ken Griffey Jr. was a solid move, and the Angels continue to rid themselves of last year’s nightmare. Even
In the N.L., the Braves are playing as if John Rocker doesn’t disturb them at all. In fact, I think the Braves have a bit of late ’70s Yanks in them—bring on the clubhouse squabbles, and we’ll take out our frustrations on the opposing team. The only team that may give them a run for their money is my N.L. Central pick, the St. Louis Cardinals. (More on the Mets in a second) Jim Edmonds must be Mark McGwire’s new best friend. And Darryl Kile, welcome back from oblivion, a.k.a,
The Mets are likely to get the wild card again, but that’s where the ride will end. This team is good, but just doesn’t seem to have that special feeling last year’s team had at the end of the season. Of course, bringing back Lenny Harris as a sidekick for Mike Piazza can’t hurt.
Unfortunately, there’s really nothing this season for the Ranter to get pissed about. Sure, 17-4 scores are more common, but I think I’ve seen even more 3-2 tightly fought games this year. The umpires being folded into one body has been odd, but the adjustment doesn’t look that tough for the best pitchers. Well, there’s a crazy realignment plan that’s bound to happen, so that’ll get my blood pressure going.
The Ranter’s Mid-Season Awards:
A.L. MVP: Carl Everett,
A.L. Cy Young: Pedro Martinez,
N.L. MVP: Todd
N.L. Cy Young: (tie) Randy Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Al Leiter, New York Mets. Sure it seems crazy with Johnson’s stats this year, but Leiter has been THE